The No B.S. way to quickly put together high-converting copy that will turn cold traffic in to clients

First, we need to identify a few things about your target audience

Identifying the customer

  1. Who is my ideal target customer? Example: Project Management offices in large organizations (more than 50 people)

  2. What solution can we provide to them? Example: To make their lives easier and their PMO run more efficiently.

  3. What solutions might they already be using? Example: Reading books about the PMO, process improvement. Reading blog posts by project managers, KPI dashboards with PMO metrics, going to conferences, getting PM certified.

  4. Where can you find these solutions online? Example: Amazon.com for books, Udacity or Udemy online courses, blogs on Medium or LinkedIn… Here’s an example conference at wrike

Mining for ideas

Now that we’ve identified some other places we can find customer reviews and/or competitors copy, we can start identifying a few types of expressions. Specifically we want to find these three things:

  • Any phrases or “sayings” that are memorable
  • Things customers really need or want
  • The pain or emotion they are reacting to

We’ll make a list of these items, and use these to develop our copy. Essentially we’re stealing the results of existing work so that we don’t have to work from scratch. I’ll warn you now not to ever copy anyone elses work word-for-word. This is not about copying, this is about consolodating a list of ideas so that we have a jumping off point for our copy.

So back to our example, I looked around on Amazon and found a book called “The Agile PMO: Leading the Effective, Value Driven, Project Management Office”. The book has about 44 reviews on Amazon with a generally high rating sitting a 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Sifting through the reviews I immediately see some meaningful phrases, needs the customer may have, and the emotion they are reacting to.

Memorable phrases or sayings

  • “PMOs that function mainly as a home for PMs do little to create value”
  • “The value driven PMO is easier said than done.”

Customer needs or wants

  • “…I was looking to get some more information on what a PMO should focus on to deliver value”
  • “The value driven PMO is a very useful concept, seen also elsewhere, in this book the practical steps for achieving it, or rather the steps that one should avoid, are outlined as well. The case studies illuminate”
  • Wants to avoid being inneffective or not having adequate authority.
  • Wants to create value for their orgs.
  • Want specific case studies and examples, outlined to be easy to consume

Emotional appeals

  • “If a PMO fails to establish the necessary authority and credibility with the Project Manager (PM) community at a sufficiently early stage, it becomes relegated to performing only supportive, administrative work.”
  • “PMOs that try to implement everything (resource management, methodology, templates, etc.) at once can appear to PMs as dictatorial rather than collaborative. This results in resistance to change and ultimately wasted effort in a failed implementation.”
  • “PMO needs to drive some value - saw that in one example where we listed 454 active projects to PMO leadership who were at a loss for words.”

So we’ve got a few interesting themes cropping up from this one book, but let’s also dive in to a higher level book that is more abstract. Probably the easiest way to do this is to just search for “Project Management Office” on Amazon under the “Books” category, and then sort by most reviews, rather than most relevant.

I did this and the first result was a book called “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” with 1,428 reviews. This sounds like a winner, so let’s dig in to the reviews here. Since there are so many, what we want to do is use the default sorting of reviews which is to sort by “Most Helpful”. These are the reviews that resonated with the most customers, so they must also most closely represent the thinking of other customers and readers of the book.

After reviewing some of these reviews, I realized that this book is a test-prep for a project management certification. I decided not to skip over this one thought because it has such a wealth of information from people of a similar mindset.

So I’m going to add to this list based on some of the reviews:

Memorable phrases or saying

  • “Just what I need to continually improve.”
  • “Redundant”
  • “Yawn”

Customer needs or wants

  • “I used the Rita Mulcay book and found it very helpful, as it had hints on the types of questions that will be used, as well as helpful exercises to study, and questions at the end of each chapter”
  • “It must have been written by aliens, come to earth to mess with aspiring project managers through developing the most unreadable reference book ever.”
  • “It is very expensive, and doesn’t help you actually pass the exam.”
  • “Simplistic and clear, breaks down the PMI processes systematically allowing for ease of use as a reference as well as a teaching tool.”

One benefit of reading reviews is to familiarize yourself with the way your customer speaks.

This is a brief introduction to mining data from Amazon reviews, but hopefully this is an easy trick to get started. Writing great copy is largely just a way to join an existing conversation your customers may already be having.

Get writing!

Now the final step, is to write! Communicate clearly to your customer in this writing the unique selling proposition you offer. This will act as the main “headline” of your ad and it should both communicate what you offer, and why you are different from your competitors.

Include details about the benefit you wish to derive your customers well. We’ll make it a point to re-use some of the words and ideas about your customer’s wants from the research we did before.

For example you may have a major headline say “Your PMO outline, delivered to your inbox daily” where the benefit is “We deliver updates from your team, so you can deliver value, and build authority and trust with your team early on.”

Overcome objections

This step may involve getting real-world customers in the mix, or at least survey feedback on your website. Similar to writing an essay, we want to bring up objections, or reasons someone would hesitate to buy, and then overcome them. Some people ask me why there are so many sales pages out there as long as a big, and the answer is that they just have many objections to overcome! The more natural objectives you come across, the longer your copy will need to be, generally speaking.

So here we go one-by-one and anticipate and address the most common objections to our offering.

Some examples of objections:

  • “I already have enough software to worry about!”
  • “This seems like something that would be too expensive to integrate”
  • “Our existing software is good enough for now”
  • “Competitor XYZ seems better”

What are your customers objections? Make a list of common objections, whether based on feedback or based on your assumptions. From this list, you should build out your sales page, overcoming each objection one by one.

Claim authority

After you’ve overcome objections, it’s time to tell your prospect why you are the authority, and why they should trust you. This is a great time to include customer testimonials, user reviews, number of customers with xyz successful metric, and so on. Referencing outside press or blogs about your product can also help.

Edit and publish!

Finally we want to go over the copy, check for any grammar or spelling errors, but most importantly we want to see if we can find any opportunities to spice up the copy to make it more convincing.

A great way to do this is to confirm you’ve got the following items throughout your copy:

  • The benefits of your offer
  • Overcome the objections
  • Avoid jargon and double-speak, unless its language your customers really use
  • Be credible/specific, use real numbers where possible
  • Short sentences!
  • Remove any unneccessary words, really, actually yeah.. remove anything that you know, isn’t really needed, you know?

And for god’s sake, read your text OUT LOUD! There is no better way to check for cheesy, crappy, or poorly written copy than to read it aloud and fix any places where it feels wrong.

Split test

Never publish any copy, ad, or website without multiple version. Unless what you’re writing is a tweet, or blog, or book, you want multiple versions and you want to test your hypotheses. For copywriting, your hypotheses you want to split test might include:

  • The unique selling proposition
  • The call to action
  • How long your copy is, and how much info it includes
  • How many choices you offer in your CTA (call-to-action)
  • The objections you address
  • Which elements of the page demonstrate your authority, credibility, and trust

All of this will help you build successful ad campaigns, sales pages, and even agreements if executed well, but nothing will do more for your business than having a stellar customer experience once you get them in the door. So once you seal the deal, get to work!

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Thanks, Jameson